What is Jelly Fam? How Alabama’s Jahvon Quinerly & others started NYC ‘brotherhood’


Jahvon Quinerly isn’t the centerpiece of Alabama’s SEC championship team, but there’s a reason his name might be the one many fans can identify.

Quinerly has been on the national map since high school, when he was part of the Jelly Fam group alongside players he knew from junior high and high school.

The highest-rated recruit in the group, Quinerly originally committed to Arizona before switching to Villanova and ultimately finding a home at Alabama under Nate Oats after transferring.

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The SEC Sixth Man of the Year is now two wins away from a Final Four in the Crimson Tide’s dream season.

Here’s what you need to know about how Jelly Fam started and Quinerly’s role in the group.

What is Jelly Fam?

Jelly Fam was a group started by New York high school basketball players Isaiah Washington and Ja’Quaye James that gained popularity in 2016.

Washington and James recruited other friends and basketball standouts to the group, including Quinerly and Jordan Walker. The goal was to reinforce what it means to be a New York basketball player, all while the individual members pursued collegiate careers. 

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What does ‘jelly’ mean in basketball?

“Jelly” became associated with a type of layup created by Washington and James. The move starts out looking like a slam dunk but turns into a finger-roll layup. 

Of course, the jelly wasn’t created out of thin air. The move is a blend of Isiah Thomas’ famous finger roll and some of Michael Jordan’s dunks.

The “jelly” took on a life of its own, just as Jelly Fam did. NBA players who grew up during Jelly Fam’s peak often display similar moves during games.

Jelly Fam members

While there is no official membership in Jelly Fam, there are several core members. Washington and James are credited with founding the movement, while Quinerly and Sidney Wilson joined shortly after.

Jordan Walker, Pedro Marquez and Mimi Reid — the group’s only female member — all joined on and became associated with Jelly Fam.

Quinerly and Walker have been among the most successful Jelly Fam members to this point. Quinerly is in his fifth collegiate season and third at Alabama. He reached the Sweet 16 with the Tide in 2021 and earned SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors this season.

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Walker has also been successful at the college level, averaging more than 20 points per game in each of his two seasons at UAB. Walker began his college career with stops at Seton Hall and Tulane.

Washington started his college career at Minnesota before becoming a starter at Iona and ultimately Long Beach State. He’s now playing professionally in Germany. 

Wilson spent time at UConn before transferring to SIU Edwardsville and taking on a larger role for one season. 

James played at the junior college level, while Reid spent time at both Ole Miss and St. John’s before ending her collegiate career this month. Marquez played at the Division III level. 

Naz Reid and Leondre Washington have also been associated with Jelly Fam. While not as closely connected as Quinerly or Walker, Reid has been the most successful of anyone associated. He was a standout at LSU and is now a major contributor for the NBA’s Timberwolves.

How Jelly Fam started

Jelly Fam began when Washington and James first came up with the jelly layup as early as 2012. Because there is no official membership, there is no start date for the group.

Washington and James were able to spread the jelly layup around the New York and New Jersey high school basketball scene through Quinerly and other connections.

In 2022, Quinerly told Slam that Jelly Fam is built on creativity both on and off the court.

“It was just to be creative — not only with playing basketball, but with everything that you do. That’s what we wanted to do. And we wanted to influence the younger generation,” he said. 

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how a flashy move created by premier basketball prospects in one of America’s biggest basketball hubs took on a life of its own.

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Where is Jahvon Quinerly from?

Quinerly was born in Hackensack, N.J. He attended Hudson Catholic Regional High School in Jersey City, N.J. 

He was named New Jersey’s high school player of the year twice at Hudson Catholic.

Jelly Fam extended across the New York-New Jersey area. Quinerly and James were from New Jersey. Walker started his high school career on Long Island but finished in New Jersey. Washington was born in Manhattan and went to high school in the Bronx.

New Jersey is a long way from Alabama, but Quinerly has found his niche in Tuscaloosa on Oats’ team and has a realistic chance to win a national championship this season.

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